Cooking Tips #2 -- Other Garnishes

Garnishes - Part 2

Marshmallow Gardenias

Cut large-size marshmallows into 3/8-inch thick slices.  Roll slices out on sifted powdered sugar. Pinch tips to form petals. Using about 5 or 6 petals, skewer or thread petals on a flat, wooden tooth pick and shape them into a flower. Break the tooth pick, leaving about 3/8-inch on top. Cover this with a small slice of yellow gumdrop.

These are lovely on a pastry tray. They can be used to decorate a sweet mold or mousse. Set the gardenias on green leaves for a beautiful effect. If you are serving a chocolate dessert, place the flowere on chocolate leaves for a smashing effect.

Frosted Crackling Grapes

Grapes and leaves are made exciting by frosting. Brush fruit and leaves with beaten egg white. Heavily cover the fruit and leaves with sugar and set aside to dry at room temperature. You can use powdered sugar, granulated sugar, colored sugar or multi-colored sugar for different and unusual effects. The multi-colored sugar gives the appearance of stained glass.

Gumdrop Flowers

Use many colored gumdrops for a bouquet of spring flowers. With a sugared rolling pin, roll out small gum drops to flatten. Pinch ends to form petals. Assemble with a tooth pick, like the Marshmallow Gardenia. Place on mint leaves or other colored leaves.

Lemon, Orange and Grapefruit Baskets

With a sharp knife, cut into the center of a lemon, in a zig-zag, saw tooth fashion. Cut all the way to the center. Separate the lemon halves and place little sprigs of parsley in the lemon to fill the basket with greens. Cut a small slice from the bottom of the lemon, so the basket will stand straight. a small vegetable flower is a nice addition. Use the same technique for oranges or grapefruits. If you own a "V" shaped knife, then simply cut into the center of the lemon with continuous "V's".


Cut jicama into 1/4-inch thick slices. Cut into the jicama slices with a daisy-shaped cookie cutter. For the center, use a thin slice of carrot, half of a thick black olive, a round slice of mushroom or a small round of lemon or orange peel. Fasten with a piece of tooth pick, but do not let it show. Daisies can be cut from turnips, but I prefer using jicama. These are just lovely on an hors d'oeuvre tray or part of a vegetable basket. Use with green leaves.


Roses can be made with the peel of fruits or vegetables. Peel an orange, grapefruit, lemon or tomato in one continuous line, starting from the top and working to the bottom. Use a sharp knife and thinly peel the fruit or vegetable. The width of the peeling would depend on the size rose desired. The wider the peel, the larger the rose. Don't be too accurate. Peel can be wavy. Now, reroll the peel and shape it to resemble a rose. Fasten with a tooth pick and set on green leaves.


Peel an onion and trim off the stem. Cut a thin slice off the top. With a sharp knife, cut onion in half, starting from the top and cutting almost to the bottom. Cut in half, then half again, then half again. Place onions in water and refrigerate. If colored chrysanthemums are desired, then tint the water with food coloring.

Radish Roses

Radishes are a bright and colorful decoration for a vegetable platter. Cut off a thin slice from the top and stem. Shape the petals by cutting a thin slice from the top and going down, almost to the bottom. Depending on the size of the radish, cut 4 or 5 petals along the sides. Store in the refrigerator in cold water and the petals will open into flowers.

Radish Fans:
Cut off a thin slice from the top and stem. Now, lay the radish on its side and cut thin slices from the top, going almost to the bottom. Store in the refrigerator in cold water and fans will open.

Carrot Curls

With a vegetable peeler, cut thin slices of carrot, starting at the top and working down to the bottom. Shape these slices into curls and skewer with a tooth pick. Place the slices in cold water overnight. Before serving, remove the tooth picks and use to decorate a vegetable platter.

Carrot Flowers

With a sharp knife, cut off a "V" shaped strip down the length of a peeled carrot. Repeat this, at even distances, 3 or 4 times depending on the size of the carrot. Cut the carrot crosswise into thin slices. Shape will be shaped like a flower.

Cucumber Flowers

These are nice for a vegetable basket. Peel a cucumber and run the tines of a fork on the sides, starting from the top going down to the bottom. Now, cut the cucumber into slices and each slice will be scalloped.

Zucchini Flowers

Peel the zucchini with a vegetable peeler, starting on the top and going to the bottom. Peel off a 3/4-inch strip; then leave a 1/4-inch strip of green peel. Work you way around the zucchini, leaving a strip of peel every 3/4-inch. Now, cut out the green areas in a "V" shape and this will form the petals. Cut the zucchini into slices and each slice will form a flower.

Green Onion Frills

Green onion frills are especially attractive and add a frivolous quality to a vegetable platter or basket. You can frill the bulb and the leaves of the onion. Cut varying sizes of leaves. Now, lay the leaves flat and with a very sharp knife, cut the thinnest slices down the length of the leaf or bulb, without cutting all the way across. Place the onions in cold water and refrigerate overnight. The cut edges will curl into pretty frills.

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